Warning Signs

Oftentimes when a senior is experiencing abuse there are a number of “warning signs” happening that can signal a potential problem. 

Even though warning signs of abuse may be present in a situation, we have to be careful NOT to jump to any conclusions or make false accusations of abuse. A senior can easily be “at risk” for abuse and neglect, however no actual abuse may be happening. The first step is to educate yourself about abuse, and talk to someone about your concerns.

If you think this is an emergency, please call 911.

Warning Signs In The Senior...

  • A change in a senior’s normal behaviour (withdrawn low self-esteem, no energy, nervousness)
  • A change in a senior’s normal behaviour (withdrawn low self-esteem, no energy, nervousness)
  • Withdrawal from social activities or social contacts (missing church or other regularly attended social events)
  • Change in appearance (dirty or inappropriate clothing, poor hygiene)
  • Suspicious or unexplained injuries (bruises, sprains, welts, burns, broken bones)
  • Untreated medical conditions
  • Malnutrition or dehydration
  • Signs of neglect (little food in the home, being left alone for long periods of time, not having needed assertive devices – glasses, hearing aids, etc.)
  • Unpaid bills or missing property (sudden inability to meet expenses)
  • Changes in financial affairs (bank accounts, power of attorney, transfer of assets)
  • Changes in living arrangements (uninvolved relatives or new friends moving in)
  • Difficulty visiting, calling or contacting the older adult

Warning Signs In The Caregiver...

  • Isolates the senior from family and friends
  • Blocks the seniors’ access to receiving phone calls or mail
  • Misuses the senior’s property and/or funds
  • Controls the decision-making process and/or does not respect the seniors wishes
  • Tricking the senior into signing something that they do not understand
  • Threatens to place the senior into an institution
  • Denies the senior access to medical treatment or medical aids
  • Treats the senior like a child
  • Refusing to move out of the older person’s home when asked
  • Sharing the senior’s home without paying a fair share of the expenses
  • Theft, forgery, fraud, or misusing a power of attorney
  • Pressures the senior into giving them money or property
  • Insults, threatens, humiliates, intimidates, bullies
  • Rough handling during care
  • Pushes, shoves, hits, slaps, bites
  • Confines or restrains the senior inappropriately
  • Inadequate provision of food, liquids, clothing or shelter
  • Fails to attend to health and/or personal care needs, such as washing, dressing and bodily functions
  • Fails to provide social companionship, both within the family and with peers
  • Abandons and/or leaves the senior in an unsafe place
  • Persuades the senior to give up control of their finances or sign over their home